Macbook Pro i5 vs i7 - Gaming

lieb39

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
277
0
Melbourne, Australia
Hello all -

So I'm thinking of upgrading my four year old black Macbook to a Macbook Pro 15". I'm going to install Windows on bootcamp just so I can play the Grand Theft Auto series. I was wondering if I need to get the i7 with the 512mb of the NVidia graphics card, or if the i5 with the 256mb will be okay? I'll be choosing the higher def screen (1680-by-1050)

Of course, the recommended requirements for GTA3 aren't much:
System:pIII 700 or equivalent
RAM:128 MB
Video Memory:32 MB
Hard Drive Space:700 MB

While the requirements for GTA4 are a bit more..
OS: Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 / XP - Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, AMD Phenom X3 2.1Ghz
Memory: 2 GB (Windows XP) 2.5 GB (Windows Vista)
18 GB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card: 512MB NVIDIA 8600 / 512MB ATI 3870

I'm not looking to play GTA4 that much, but will it run on the i5/256 option, or am I shall I just swallow my pride and pay for the i7?

Cheers,
lieb39
 

Badger^2

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2009
1,962
2
Sacramento
No difference.

Even the i5 vs i7 iMac game at the same rate.

Good news, barefeats have already done the tests for you:

http://www.barefeats.com/

Its a numbers game -- PC gamers fall into this trap as well. they *think* that the $300 1TB VRAM card they just bought will play games faster = reality they dont.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
No difference.

Even the i5 vs i7 iMac game at the same rate.

Good news, barefeats have already done the tests for you:

http://www.barefeats.com/

Its a numbers game -- PC gamers fall into this trap as well. they *think* that the $300 1TB VRAM card they just bought will play games faster = reality they dont.
No matter if the GPU has 10TB VRAM if it's too slow to take advantage of it! Stream cores and clocks matter a lot more, so does mem bandwidth. Those ATI 5650 1GBs are ridiculous as they are just confusing buyers
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Yep, looks like barefeats is showing nearly the same FPS for either the 256/512 GPU and the i5/i7 CPU.

Looks like it is only when you go to 2560x1600 resolution you see the difference.
 

CubeHacker

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2003
1,082
11
I would be more worried about the fact that neither the i7 or i5 in the MBP are quad core processors, and GTA4's requirements list a quad core processor. You might want to read around and see how GTA4 runs on dual core systems. It might not even make full use of one, but its odd that minimum requirements are a quad core.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
7,855
6,018
New Hampshire, USA
Yep, looks like barefeats is showing nearly the same FPS for either the 256/512 GPU and the i5/i7 CPU.

Looks like it is only when you go to 2560x1600 resolution you see the difference.
The i5 is a better buy if you want to play games that are out today. Unfortunately, many of the future games will require 512M (only on the i7).

Also, if you are thinking about getting the high res screen, please try it out before you buy. The screen itself is really nice but the font size is very small (much too small). The font size may not be an issue to you but you really should try it out first (email, etc).
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
The i5 is a better buy if you want to play games that are out today. Unfortunately, many of the future games will require 512M (only on the i7).

Also, if you are thinking about getting the high res screen, please try it out before you buy. The screen itself is really nice but the font size is very small (much too small). The font size may not be an issue to you but you really should try it out first (email, etc).
That still doesn't help the fact that 330M is simply TOO SLOW to take full advantage of the 512MB. No matter does it have 1TB or 32MB if it can't take advantage of it
 

lieb39

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
277
0
Melbourne, Australia
Oh wow, thanks for that everyone :) I'll just get myself the i5 - I'm running a Core 2 Duo right now, so I think any upgrade will be noticed big time.

I'll definitely try out the high res screen before I buy it, sounds like the resolution may be pushing it.

Cheers
 

BaronStein

macrumors regular
Feb 11, 2010
135
0
NY
Rather than the difference between i5 and i7, for GTA4 case, it is the ram available for the graphics card. i5 MBP comes with 256 mb for 330m, and i7 with 512. And GTA4 is a very graphic intensive game and that difference in video ram makes a huge difference. So, if you are planning to play games, I'd suggest that you should get the i7 version as it has a video ram of 512mb for 330m.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Rather than the difference between i5 and i7, for GTA4 case, it is the ram available for the graphics card. i5 MBP comes with 256 mb for 330m, and i7 with 512. And GTA4 is a very graphic intensive game and that difference in video ram makes a huge difference. So, if you are planning to play games, I'd suggest that you should get the i7 version as it has a video ram of 512mb for 330m.
Please take a look at some posts above. The amount of VRAM doesn't matter if the GPU ain't powerful enough. Also, take a look at this, when playing @1920x1200, the difference is almost zero. It only matters if you plan to use it with bigger screen like 30" Apple CD.
 

Snowcake

macrumors regular
May 18, 2010
187
0
Please take a look at some posts above. The amount of VRAM doesn't matter if the GPU ain't powerful enough. Also, take a look at this, when playing @1920x1200, the difference is almost zero. It only matters if you plan to use it with bigger screen like 30" Apple CD.
Gta is a bad port, if you go for the 256 mb vram, then you wil have to choose the "low texture" setting.
If you go for the 512 mb vram, you can set it on medium.

Nonsens, bigger textures doesn't need immediately much more gpu power, really think for yourself, read user experiences/reviews.

And consider: the future of opengl...
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
7,855
6,018
New Hampshire, USA
That still doesn't help the fact that 330M is simply TOO SLOW to take full advantage of the 512MB. No matter does it have 1TB or 32MB if it can't take advantage of it
That it's too slow to take full advantage of the 512M is not the issue. The problem is that many of the upcoming games will not let you select anything other than low quality graphics unless you have 512M. Yes, the fps will be low for the higher graphic settings but, at least you will be able to select something other than "low graphic settings" when you play the game.
 

jdhatt

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2010
127
0
That it's too slow to take full advantage of the 512M is not the issue. The problem is that many of the upcoming games will not let you select anything other than low quality graphics unless you have 512M. Yes, the fps will be low for the higher graphic settings but, at least you will be able to select something other than "low graphic settings" when you play the game.
i dont think thats true....if the cards not fast enough no matter what setting you put it on the game wont even run....unless its on low just like the 256mb....unless ur on a very high res or huge screen the card wont show any diff...sure u might be able to apply the higher setting for games that require more ram but whats the point if the card isnt powerful enough to utilize it?
 

JasO

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2008
148
0
Melbourne, Australia
If you're not too worried about playing the latest and greatest future games then get the i5. If this is of concern to you then the i7 may be the way to go.

I suggest save the money and go with the i5, it will be a huge improvement over what you have at the moment and it will play what you want with great ease.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
7,855
6,018
New Hampshire, USA
i dont think thats true....if the cards not fast enough no matter what setting you put it on the game wont even run....unless its on low just like the 256mb....unless ur on a very high res or huge screen the card wont show any diff...sure u might be able to apply the higher setting for games that require more ram but whats the point if the card isnt powerful enough to utilize it?
Take the Starcraft 2 beta as an example. People with 512MB were able to run it with high quality settings while people with less V RAM were only able to run it at the lower quality settings (i.e the game software determines how much V RAM you have and sets the max quality accordingly). How well the game runs at the higher quality is subjective for each person but, if you get less than 512M, you can't even try the higher quality.
 

jdhatt

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2010
127
0
will starcraft 2 beta run better on medium settings on the 512 than the 256? are lower settings even better on the 512 too?
 

newmacnooby

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2010
104
0
this might seem like a stupid question but in the Grand TheftAuto requierments it says 512mb so even if he doesnt have the requierd Vram?
this is a huge cocern fr me also im not intersted in playing my games at full setting but i dont want not to be abe to even play because i dont meet the minimun requierments.
 

wywern209

macrumors 65832
Sep 7, 2008
1,503
0
do you rly want to know?
i suggest not trying to play GTA4 on a macbook pro. it is a very stupid idea. GTA4 is unoptimized for PCs so you require high specs to get ti playable which means playing on a macbook pro is out of the question unless u want to play on low res and low settings. if you want to game on PC, get a desktop. tryingt o game seriously on laptops is a fools errand.
 

newmacnooby

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2010
104
0
some of us really need a laptop and cant afford a tower only for gaming, we must do the most we can with what we got.
 

newmacnooby

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2010
104
0
tell me about it, i had to searuslly cut n my drinking and partying i havnt gone out dor 3 months... just one more... but im shure it willl be worth it.
 

newmacnooby

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2010
104
0
this might not be the place to ask but.... well can you turn your mbp display into a screen andplug a ps3? as far as gaming goes it would be awsome and about the same price...

is this possible?